REPORT: Ruggs’ Lawyers Argue ‘Slow Firefighters’ to Blame for Crash Victim’s Death
Lawyers representing Henry Ruggs insist that, according to a witness's testimony, Tina Tintor might not have died if first responders had acted more quickly.
The car crash, which took place on Nov. 2 in the wee hours of the morning in Las Vegas, left 23-year-old Tintor's Toyota Rav 4 in flames after Ruggs allegedly hit her going more than 150 mph in his Corvette. She and her dog, Max, burned to death.
Ruggs, 22, is accused of having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.161, which is twice the legal limit. The former Alabama wide receiver was released from the Las Vegas Raiders shortly after news broke of the crash.
A report from ESPN states that an anonymous witness reported firefighters waited for "approximately 20 minutes" before attempting to put out the car fire that entrapped Tintor. David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, Ruggs' defense attorneys, brought this information to a court filing Wednesday.
"Firefighters were 'in a position to extinguish the vehicle fire while it was in its infancy stages and failed to do so,'" ESPN reported, per the information included in the court filing.
While there are no details about who the witness is, ESPN reported that he "was at home nearby when he heard the crash and went to look."
This assertion does not, however, line up with what Erik Pappa, a spokesman for Clark County, stated Thursday.
"The captain on the scene reported that the vehicle was fully involved in fire upon arrival and the passenger compartment was not survivable for anyone inside," Pappa said in a statement to ESPN.
Chesnoff and Schonfeld have requested to subpoena the Clark County Fire Department's records, which may contain information about the timeline of the first responders' involvement with the crash. The hearing is now scheduled for Nov. 17.
This news comes on the heels of Ruggs' attorneys also arguing to keep his medical records from prosecutors, citing "state privacy laws" supersede any federal privacy requirements that would otherwise make them admissible in court.
Ruggs is facing a felony DUI resulting in death charge, as well as reckless driving charges. While DUIs are typically misdemeanors, Nevada's laws allow them to be categorized as felonies for several reasons, including if a victim dies as a result of the DUI.
Ruggs acquired more charges Wednesday, according to ESPN, including a second felony DUI, more reckless driving charges, and a charge for possessing a firearm while intoxicated, which is a misdemeanor. The second felony DUI charge, according to Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson via ESPN, is merited due to the fact that Ruggs' girlfriend, Kiara Je'nai Kilgo-Washington, was seriously injured in the crash.
"The evidence supports a second felony DUI charge," Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said Wednesday, as reported by ESPN. "... [U]nder Nevada law, if one is substantially injured in a DUI collision as a result of the defendant's actions, we can file a second charge."
If convicted, he will see at least two to 50-plus years of prison time, depending on how many charges for which he's found guilty. All his offenses are nonprobationable.
At the time of the crash, Ruggs was taken to jail on a $150,000 bond. He was promptly bailed out and, according to ESPN, is currently on house arrest "with strict conditions."
As more information develops, stay connected here for details.